"The Awakening."

Essay by crakbaby23High School, 11th gradeA-, December 2005

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Often in life, we form relationships with different people. Though many people do not see it, each relationship affects who we are and the person we will become. Throughout, "The Awakening", the main character, Edna Pontellier, grows tremendously as a person. In the beginning of the book, Edna is merely a 19th century housewife who lives for her family. By the end of the book, Edna realizes that she will not live for anyone but herself. The causes of her realizations, or awakenings, are the relationships she has with Leonce, Robert, and Alcee because each of these relationships bring out something in her that forces her to want to move away from society and its values and live the way she wants to.

Edna's relationship with Leonce shows Edna that married life is not what she truly wanted. Like any other 19th century married couple, Leonce worked and made the money in the house.

Edna was seen as his property and she was to obey him. Edna, being a woman, was supposed to be very feminine and tend to her children and her home. Throughout the book, Leonce constantly reminds Edna of her "habitual neglect of the children" (5) and that she "failed in her duty toward the children" (7). Edna feels caged and limited in her house with Leonce. Longing to feel free, Edna begins to do what she wants and what makes her happy. When she begins to live by her own rules, Leonce, and others in the town begin to think that Edna is losing her mind. Leonce "wondered if his wife were not growing a little unbalanced mentally" (57). When Leonce goes to visit Dr. Mandelet, he tells the doctor that she must be sick because she no longer acts like she used to. She...